Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

The Great Pretender Throws His Base a Bone


Barack Obama has the worst record on immigration of any president in US history. No one else comes close. In the last 3 and a half years, Obama has rounded up, detained and deported more than 1.2 million immigrants, roughly 400,000 per year. That’s more than double the number of deportations that took place under his predecessor, George W. Bush, in the same amount of time. Obama also launched the controversial Secure Communities program, which uses local police departments to help federal authorities collect fingerprints so that victims can be watched, harassed, detained, abused and deported more easily by the Gestapo thugs at Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE]. Obama intends to make the program mandatory by 2013.

Now, after nearly four years of terrorizing the immigrant community, Obama has softened his stance in order to win back the 60% of Latinos who voted for him in 2008, but who no longer trust him or approve of his reactionary policies. Last week, in a cynical political stunt that was clearly aimed at winning votes, Obama directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop the deportation of immigrants under the age of 30 who came to the U.S. before age 16 “and who do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.”

Obama’s policy-reversal was intended to throw his liberal constituents a bone while putting the Republicans on the defensive on an issue that deeply divides their rank and file. (56 percent of likely Republican voters oppose the decision, although the party desperately needs the Hispanic vote to carry the 2012 elections.) Without explaining how the new policy fits with 3 and a half years of police state repression and arbitrary imprisonment, Obama breezily opined that he changed the policy because, “It’s the right thing to do,” creating the illusion that the decision was based on deeply-held convictions rather than political opportunism.

To many, Obama’s performance was reminiscent of an earlier volte-face on the issue of marriage equality. Again, Obama claimed to have had a “road to Damascus” moment where he suddenly saw the light and realised that he had been wrong not to defend gay marriage. The Roosevelt Institutes’s Matt Stoller provides a little background on this point. Here’s a clip from a recent post at naked capitalism:

“Prior to his announced support for gay marriage, Obama backtracked on an executive order banning discrimination among government contractors. He promised to sign the order, and then didn’t. Gay billionaire donors were outraged, and began withholding money from his campaign. And since Obama needed their money to make up for the general lack of excitement for his reelection on both Wall Street and among his small dollar donors, he acted. He tepidly announced personal support for gay marriage, with no corresponding legal or political support. This isn’t a small deal; the President carries moral weight. But it happened because he needed the money.”

Journalist Joseph Kishore over at WSWS draws the same conclusion as Stoller, that is, that Obama’s change of heart had more to do with money than principle. Take a look at this:

“There was also an element of crass financial calculations in the decision to make the statement.  On Wednesday, Obama sent out a message to supporters highlighting his new position on gay marriage and requesting donations. According to the Washington Post, the campaign received a “massive surge of contributions” in response.

On Thursday evening, Obama was in Hollywood for a fundraiser at the home of actor George Clooney, expecting to net the campaign a record-setting $15 million in a single day.

The Associated Press commented, “Hollywood is home to some of the most high-profile backers of gay marriage, and the 150 donors who are paying $40,000 to attend Clooney’s dinner Thursday night will no doubt feel newly invigorated by Obama’s watershed announcement the day before.” The AP added that over the course of a number of fundraisers in the next several days, gay marriage will be the dominant issue, “culminating in yet another fundraiser Monday in New York sponsored by gay and Latino Obama supporters.”

Obama’s sudden change-of-heart turned out to be quite timely, otherwise he might not have raked in that big pile of Hollywood cash. But, then, it’s just more of the same from Obama, the Pharisee-in-chief. One can only wonder if his support for gay marriage and immigration reform will suddenly vanish the minute the last ballot is counted in November as happened with “card check” and other commitments to loyal constituents.

Obama’s new presidential directive does not carry the weight of the law and can be repealed at any time. In fact, it could just be a trick to get undocumented immigrants to register (as they must) with DHS, thus, making it easier for ICE to round them up whenever they see fit. It’s a bogus arrangement that provides no path to citizenship
and no guarantee that they won’t be hassled or incarcerated in the future. And this is precisely what Obama wants, a program that appears to change the policy, when in fact the policy remains  the same. (Expect the same on the gay marriage issue. Obama will support marriage equality until he doesn’t, and that will be the end of it.)

The Obama team scoffs at the idea that the president would promise to prevent deportations for mere political gain, but the facts suggest otherwise. Take a look at this excerpt from an article in the New Yorker a few days ago:

“The White House is so convinced of the centrality of Hispanics to the current election and its aftermath that (White House advisor David) Plouffe told me he has been preparing for months for an onslaught of advertisements from a pro-Romney group attacking Obama from the left on immigration, arguing that Obama’s deportation and border-security policies have been too Draconian.”

That’s right; the White House is worried that Latino voters think Obama’s immigration policy (dragnets, incarceration and deportation) is more punitive and unjust than the GOPs. And it has been. Obama’s been rolling up record numbers of  hard working men, women and children and throwing them into federal gulags where they are separated from their family members, abused and oftentimes raped. (check–“How Much Sexual Abuse Gets “Lost in Detention?”, PBS Frontline or “New Prison Rape Rules Don’t yet cover Immigrant Detention sites”, PBS Frontline) The bottom line: There’s no legal protection for these people at all. Once they’re arrested, they’re dispatched to federal black sites where anything goes. Obama knows this, and yet, the same policy persists with his blessing.

This is from Democracy Now:

“A new report looks at how thousands of U.S.-born children are being sent to foster care when their non-U.S. citizen parents are detained or deported. The Applied Research Center investigation, “Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System,” finds there are at least 5,100 children currently living in foster care, who are prevented from uniting with their detained or deported parents. If nothing changes, researchers found some 15,000 more children may end up in foster care in the next five years.”

Nice, eh? Not exactly what you’d expect from President Hopie-Feelie, is it? Keep in mind, that this report –which shows that 46,000 parents have been forcibly separated from their children for coming to the States to look for a goddamn job–was released in 2011. So, the fact that children were suffering because of his policy did not cause him to rethink the policy at all. What changed his mind was the election, and the prospect that Mitt Romney might net a bigger percentage of the Latino vote. That’s what prompted this stunning reversal.

It was inevitable that Obama would try to reconnect with his base after 3 years of disappointments and broken promises, but does he really think he can garner their support with these pathetic attempts to look “progressive”?

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians